Best Types of Leggings for Working Out & Relaxing

Person sitting on living room floor wearing gray leggings and sweatshirt

We love leggings. Leggings are such a versatile piece of clothing. We wear them for fashion, relaxation, warmth, function, athletics, and so much more.

Perhaps the two most common uses for leggings are leisure and working out. Two common daily activities that seem so fundamentally opposed to one another are, in fact, united by this shared simple garment. 

Leggings: The Athleisure Poster Child

If you think about it, both lounging around and breaking a sweat require soft, breathable clothing that allows for a full range of movement and temperature regulation. It's no wonder that they should share the use of our favorite stretchy pants. This idea of crossover apparel is relatively new — the idea of athleisure (athletics and leisure) began in the 19th century. 

Since then, the athleisure market hasn’t stopped booming, with a predicted annual compounded growth rate of 8.9% between 2020 and 2030, for an all-time nationwide high in the United States. 

We couldn’t be more excited about these changes. At TomboyX, we love all things comfort and style. We want to fill our wardrobes with functional, fashionable, and fulfilling attire.

While we adore pajamas, swimwear, underwear (and more), today, we’re focusing on leggings. We’re going to define how leggings make us feel and why we love them so very much. 

Find a cozy spot and get ready to start scrolling because we have the answers below!

Why Leggings?

Well, besides keen observation and downright asking people, answering this question involves some speculation and some research. The question “What is fashion?” has been around forever, from the couture houses of Paris to the streetwear scene in LA. 

When it comes to leggings, we’d be remiss not to mention the incredible practicality they bring to the table. 

A Brief History of Leggings

First off, leggings have existed for a long time — long before barre classes and Sunday afternoon brunches. 

Leggings were worn quite commonly in the Renaissance as an easy fashion piece for the well-to-do man. Additionally, there are accounts of some First Nations people wearing leggings made of thicker materials like animal hide. The leggings of the Northern Plains Tribes tended to extend to the hip or calf, resembling more of what some people call chaps or leg warmers. 

Leggings have been serving a purpose and serving it well for centuries. 

In the modern day, leggings are touted for their extreme comfort and convenience. Often, they are made from soft, breathable material that's light enough if it's hot but still warm enough for chilly morning runs. 

Function Is Key

A full range of movement allows wearers to meet the demands of the day. They don’t have to worry about pants slipping down when touching their toes or stopping them from executing the perfect high kick.

For many, leggings liberate us from the struggle of finding pants that fit flawlessly or from the struggle of going about our days in uncomfortable, highly-structured pants. Leggings conform to your body, not the other way around. 


Perhaps the main draw of leggings is simply that they’re perfectly suited to both sleepy days in and your big marathon run. It’s likely you are in want of a pair that can serve both events.

However, maybe you’re unsure of where to start because there are so many different leggings with so many different functions.

Some leggings act as undergarments, leggings for the workplace, leggings with fleece lining for the winter, and the list goes on. All of these are great to have around, so where do we start?

What To Look for In the Perfect Pair of Leggings

So how to find the perfect pair?

It really depends on what your needs are! Let's review what makes a legging great for athletics and what makes one great for resting. 

Qualities of Performance Leggings

Generally, athletic leggings should be made of stretchy but durable, sweat-wicking synthetic fabric. They should fit you right, and you should feel secure and confident in them!


When it comes to fabric, performance apparel should be stretchy and durable. You’ll likely find leggings crafted from a mixture of synthetic, natural, and recycled materials. 

For example, The 7/8 Legging is 78% recycled polyester and 22% Spandex for unparalleled movement capabilities and resistance to stretching or tearing. 


Moisture-wicking fabrics move moisture away from the body and through the fabric, allowing sweat to evaporate into the air (called “capillary action”). This keeps your skin dry, helping to prevent chafing, irritation, and bacteria growth. Certain moisture-wicking fabrics have temperature-regulating abilities since they keep sweat from cooling on the skin. 

Some moisture-wicking fabrics include polyester, nylon, wool, bamboo, and micromodal. 


One of the hottest fashion movements is high-waisted bottoms. We’re talking high-waisted swim shorts, high-waisted underwear, high-waisted jeans, and, of course, high-waisted leggings. 

High-rise leggings like the Streamline ⅞ Legging is a great example of where fashion meets function. It has the high-rise we love about 90s fashion paired with a smoothing waistband and lack of front-rise seam. Add in pockets and a fun color, and there’s no stopping you!


Even if you find a pair that does all this, you should make sure you feel absolutely fabulous. The clothes you wear should make you feel good, especially your workout clothes. When we feel good, that game of beach volleyball after work or a hike with your besties just gets even sweeter.

Qualities of Leisure Leggings

For leisure, the fit should be comfortable, and the fabric should be soft. Let’s get to the fast facts on taking it slow. 


A good fit is when the leggings are snug but not too tight. They shouldn’t be loose enough to slip down or bunch up in places. Common areas to look for bagging are around the ankles and knees.

(By the way, if you’re looking for looser-fitting bottoms, try our Eco Fleece Jogger. If there’s anything cozier than a pair of super-soft, sustainable joggers, we haven’t found it yet.)


As for soft fabric, cotton is a common go-to. Our TomboyX cotton is OEKO-Tex certified so that we know that when our apparel arrives on your doorstep, it got there sustainably, ethically, and totally free of chemicals. In our option, cotton should feel good and do good. 


Obviously, comfort is the most important thing when looking at leggings for leisure. We’re sure most people have experienced trying to relax and failing because that one part of that one tag in your shirt is pressing into your back: Not fun. 

Comfort can be a lot of things. Physically, it has to do with fit, fabric, and the construction of the garment feels and falls on your body.

This is extremely important because, as previously stated, how can you relax if your clothes aren’t comfortable? If there’s an itchy tag or itchy fabric, we’re just going to itch at it. And yes, science has confirmed what we always suspected — itching only makes us even more itchy

So, basically, the answer is you can’t relax. Not in a real enough way, at the very least. 

How To Get Both

As you can see, it isn’t difficult to look for all of these things in one garment. Fabric can be soft and stretchy and sweat-wicking synthetic. 

Seeing as most synthetics are soft, this is simple to achieve. For all activities, your leggings should fit snugly but not be too tight or too loose. Achieving that Goldilocks zone is what we’re looking for. Lastly, they should make you feel good, just like all your clothes should make you feel good. 

At TomboyX, our leggings are perfect for both lounging around and hitting the gym!

These leggings are made of a polyester and spandex blend which is stretchy, durable, moisture-wicking, and soft. They have a high waistband which is great for working out, and even features zip pockets because we want to be prepared for any adventure. 

A lot of time and effort went into making sure they fit right and feel great on many diligent sizes and body types so that you’re bound to love the way they look. From XS to 6XL, there’s a pair of leggings for every body

Leggings: An Overview

Leggings are an age-old piece of clothing that serves function and fashion. 

We all want to own a pair that serves the purpose of snuggly couch wear and gym support buddy. So when looking for multi-functioning garments for your wardrobe, athleisure leggings are the perfect place to start. 

While leggings for the gym and class and brunch are an awesome place to start, they likely won’t be the end of your athleisure journey. There are all sorts of garments that await you — joggers, hoodies, shorts, t-shirts, and more. Even undergarments can be made to serve that function!

Good luck with discovering a whole new world of smarter fashion; there’s a great big world out there, and it’s growing more colorful every day! 

We hope this helped you on your journey to find the perfect pair you love that loves you back. 


How Did Athleisure Take Over American Fashion? | The Atlantic

Athleisure Market to be Worth $662.56 Billion by 2030 | Grand View Research, Inc.

Artifact: Plains Indian Leggings | monah

Why scratching makes you itch more - The Source | Washington University in St. Louis